Stem cells from embryos do better than bone marrow stem cells

#Stem cells block the development of EAE

Current therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) are largely palliative, not curative. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) harbour regenerative and immunosuppressive functions, indicating a potential therapy for MS, yet the variability and low potency of MSCs from adult sources hinder their therapeutic potential. MSCs derived from human embryonic stem cells (hES-MSCs) may be better suited for clinical treatment of MS because of their unlimited and stable supply. Here, we show that hES-MSCs significantly reduce clinical symptoms and prevent neuronal demyelination in a mouse experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) model of MS, and that the EAE disease-modifying effect of hES-MSCs is significantly greater than that of human bone-marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs). Our evidence also suggests that increased IL-6 expression by BM-MSCs contributes to the reduced anti-EAE therapeutic activity of these cells. A distinct ability to extravasate and migrate into inflamed CNS tissues may also be associated with the robust therapeutic effects of hES-MSCs on EAE.

Yet more evidence that human mesenchymal stem cells are immunosuppressive. This study from a university/company producing stem cell lines derived from embryos found they were better than bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells.

This may not be a good sign for the human trials where bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells are being used. 

Do these cells turn into new nerves…I think the answer is generally no as the cells aren’t around long enough.

The inference is that these cells work by a low production of interleukin-6which can have pro and anti-inflammatory effects. Would simple blockade of interleukin 6 do the job? Maybe, if you take a mouse that does not produce interleukin-6 it does not get EAE and if you block interleukin-6 before disease starts, they do not get EAE However the effect may be context and timing dependent.

Will people risk taking foreign (That is coming from someone else not some other country) embroyo-derived cells, which have the benefit of mass production but also the risk of mass rejection, over their own cells. Will they do better than conventional immunosuppressive treatments?

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  • This trial demonstrates the robustness, scalabilty and effectiveness of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) derived mesenchymal cells (MSC) over those derived from adult bone marrow. MSC cells die not too long after injection, however the trophic factors they produce have proven to be incredibly powerful in curing diseases of all kinds (e.g. breast cancer mouse trial with hESC MSC).
    We are now seeing the evolution of regenerative medicine from adult derived stem cells to human ESC. The company that makes these stem cells (Advanced Cell Technology) do not destroy the embryo, they use the same technique that IVF uses to test their embryo's for defects, they then freeze the embryo once a single cell is removed. I think this is a very important factor in weighing up the religious implications of using this technology in the future.
    This study is incredibly good news for MS sufferers, but there is more research using these same MSC cells at Tuffs Veterinary University in the US in their canine trials. Hopefully we will hear the outcome of their trials by the end of the year. This will provide the foundations for human trials using hESC derived MSC cells in humans soon.
    There are already over 300 human trials using MSC's, the vast majority use adult derived MSC, the hESC derived MSC cells may prove to be far more effective, we just have to wait and see.

    • I thank you for your enthusiasm and I have decided to leave this infomercial.

      Curing diseases of all kinds….lets hope you are right, but the reality of this work is that you could do just as well or better with many standard immunosuppressive drugs. This type of result has been published hundreds of times before. What is done to show it is a cure?……Nothing

      As to how the company makes their stem cells and the ethics of it, I am not really interested in the religious merits. You can make your stance on moral grounds if you want. However the science says the cells will be foreign to the intended donor and this may have implications. Any immunologist can tell you about graft rejection.

      Scientists talk about MS sufferesr people with MS seldom doubt it is good that you have inside knowledge on up and coming studies. Maybe if was shown that disease and damage was established and the cells could then repair the damage maybe rather than stop it occurring it would be more exciting

    • In this study most animals got disease but maybe only a link tail, it would be possible with a single injection of immunosuppressive to get no animals with disease.

      The level of effect is perhaps greater than many stem cell studies but what we need to see is experiments where disease is established, demyelination has occurred the relapse has gone such that the immunosuppressive effect isnot important and then see if there is any repair. This is what we want to know. Do these cells promote repair.

    • MouseDoctor, I have patients and a close friend with MS, please don't belittle or invalidate my post. This trial marks one of the greatest breakthroughs in medicine for MS sufferers, if it leads to a treatment, and without side effects, then we should be closely monitoring it.

    • We need to keep it real…… This is about what the study does and does not show.

      Was there evidence that it will make someone with long standing demyelination and nerve damage…walk again, which is the perceived hope from stem cells, I could not see that data..

      Are we selling shares? Unrealistic expectations? Keep the enthusiasm going.

  • The animal trials eradicated the symptoms of the disease in 6 days, what promise does this hold for Humans? More than likely, it is revolutionary in its simplicity, as it is replacing aging cells, with healthy robust cells, with potency their bodies cannot obviously match.

    Dr. Lanza, and the scientific team at Advanced Cell Technology will produce more cures for over 100 different Auto-Immune diseases, as these Hemangioblast Derived, Non-Embryo Destructive Mesenchymal Cells are the tip-of-the-arrow in Regenerative Medicine. The body's smallest "Organ Transplant"……The FDA Trial at Tufts University using these specific cells on large animals for ten IND's will publish groundbreaking proof, that has not been seen in any clinical trial to date.

    I am proud to say I have witnessed this new paradigm change in medicine for the last ten years.

    • To date stem cells are immunosuppressive….immunosuppressive drugs can turn things off in a day or two, so it took 6 days with the cells. Promise for humans lets hope

      It is replacing ageing cells with healthy cells……maybe I have missed something the cells are gone where's the data. That they cure 100 autoimmune diseases maybe suggests the tissue repair is not as high on the agenda

  • First off you should talk about ACTC CSO Robert Lanza and the risk is almost zero ……I suggest you read his two embryonic MSC papers before making such comments…….You need to do some DD…..

    I have studied CD4/ CD25 activated T cells for thirty years and commercialized these cells at BDIS in the early 1980's

    • Dear Hank
      As part of your public engagement I suggest you write in sentences so that we can understand whats you are saying, what's the risk? What's DD was BDIS (Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems?)

    • DD = due diligence? Maybe? Company speak for reading.

      What's the worry?…..That foreign stem cells do not get rejected because they self protect?

      Would a neuro risk this or would they want to give immunosuppression to protect the stem cells…I'm not a neuro maybe ProfG can comment…..

    • There are papers that show mesenchymal stem cells can self protect if they had any progeny would they self-protect too?

      Maybe I am wrong but I thought the interest in stem cells is in repair and not immunosuppression?

  • the company does not destroy the embryo? They most certainly do destroy it! This is not a scientific article, this is propaganda. Dr. Wang should have fun and "wang chung tonight, because he's not good at subtly.

    • I am sorry to disappoint you sir but I suggest you to do some of your own research and find out the facts. Your comment is just plain flaming and of no value to the discussion at all, if you have facts to back up your claims please present them..

    • To follow the reference trail as the details are not in the paper

      Cells were made from blastomeres-a type of cell produced by cleavage (cell division) of the zygote after fertilization and is an essential part of blastula formation according to which were obtained according to Blastomeres are removed from morula (eight-cell)-stage embryos and cultured until they form multicell aggregates.
      "The ability to create new stem cell lines and therapies without destroying embryos would address the ethical concerns of many".

      Did the actual embryo(s) used to make these cells become a life?.

      Is this the fact needed….names of the embryo on the the back of a postcard.(Only joking)………I have my thoughts about the fate of the donor embryos, however it shows that you don't need to end a life to make stem cells.



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